CD Reviews

Tyler The Creator's Fourth Studio Album

April 19th, 2015 2:30pm EDT
Review: Tyler The Creator Remains Unapologetic On ‘Cherry Bomb’
“Can’t a n***a get some f**king chaos in here? / I’m the truth and the dare / and you can get your a** beat like a kick in a snare!” Those unapologetic lyrics characterize twenty-something underground Tyler the Creator to a tee – he has no filter whatsoever. This remarkable boldness continues on his fourth studio album Cherry Bomb. Even so, Tyler also manages to tweak his formula, showing more artistic range than previous albums. Maybe Cherry Bomb isn’t the ‘bomb’ that Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, but there is plenty to celebrate about the LP.

“DEATHCAMP” initiates the albu...
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Shawn Mendes Debut Album ‘Handwritten’

April 15th, 2015 1:30pm EDT
Review: Shawn Mendes Shows Great Potential On Debut Album ‘Handw
The power and the influence of video sharing sites is nothing short of incredible. Particularly for the youthful upstart musician, YouTube and Vine have done wonders for self-promotion. One of the latest benefactors is Canadian teen pop star Shawn Mendes. After dropping The Shawn Mendes EP back in 2014, the 16-year old singer/songwriter releases his major label debut, Handwritten.

“Life of the Party” plays true to the expected – solid, yet on the predictable side of things. The opener easily passes the marks – it’s a stand out contextually – even if it isn’t nearly as fun as the title ...
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‘Future Hearts’ Is Another Enjoyable All Time Low Album

April 8th, 2015 1:10pm EDT
Review: All Time Low Keeps Things Fun On ‘Future Hearts’
Sometimes the kids just don’t grow up – and that’s perfectly acceptable! For pop-punk/emo band All Time Low, growing up would cause them to lose some of their luster and fun. Known for grandiose, over the top records atoning for the lonely, disrespected, and ‘voiceless’ kids everywhere, All Time Low deliver another captivating set of such on Future Hearts. Much of the formula is the same: F-bombs perfectly placed, irresistible choruses, ‘emo’ lyrics, and slick production.

On “Satellite,” All Time Low recollects their ‘youth’ as a band with front man Alex Gaskarth singing, “We were jus...
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Review Of Wale's Fourth Studio Album

April 7th, 2015 10:58am EDT
Review: Wale Impresses On ‘The Album About Nothing’
An artist must be bold and fearless to title an album The Album About Nothing. That’s exactly what MMG rapper Wale does on his fourth studio album. The rollout for The Album About Nothing was rather reserved and somewhat enigmatic. That enigmatic sentiment can be felt throughout the course of The Album About Nothing, an effort with notable differences from The Gifted. Adding to both enigma and concept – the use of Jerry Seinfeld vocal samples – go figure!

“The Intro About Nothing” sets the tone, with Wale spitting agilely, backed by soulful, production. He’s ‘stretched’ more on the c...
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Ludaversal Is A Better Than Expected Comeback Album

April 2nd, 2015 1:10pm EDT
Review: Ludacris Is Still Ludicrous on Comeback Album 'Ludaversa
After a five-year hiatus, one of the South’s most beloved MCs has returned – Ludacris! It was back in 2010 when Ludacris had everybody nodding their heads to sex-driven joints like “How Low” and “My Chick Bad,” not to mention the Trey Songz assisted “Sex Room.” For anyone else, being out of the game for such a long time might end the career, but on Ludaversal, Ludacris pretty much picks up where he left off. No, he’s not nearly as suggestive as past, but he doesn’t let newfound maturity and expansion of palette ruin the fun in the least.

Ludaversal opens with an intro – “Ludaversal In...
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Jeff Bradshaw Delivers Some Serious Ear Candy

March 30th, 2015 3:15pm EDT
Review: Jeff Bradshaw Delivers A Brilliant, Star-Studded Live Al
Few will deny how rewarding a dynamic, new studio album can be musically – it’s something like ‘ear candy.’ An experience just as rewarding, if not more so, is a dynamic live album. Live albums provide a more organic experience, one less concerned with the perfection of the studio and more focused on a rawer, looser, and oft-times more intimate experience. For trombonist Jeff Bradshaw, his latest live album Home: One Special Night At The Kimmel Center exemplifies the virtues of the live album, delivering an exceptional musical experience.

Over the course of Home, a takeaway is the fact...
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How Good Is Kendrick Lamar's New Album, 'To Pimp A Butterfly'?

March 23rd, 2015 11:53am EDT
Kendrick Lamar
Albums that are hailed as contemporary masterpieces are hard to come by in modern times. Few efforts receive such high distinction, but across the board, Kendrick Lamar’s debut album "good Kid, m.A.A.d city" was considered to be one of those truly special, transcendent albums. How does one follow-up a juggernaut? The answer is to simply release yet another juggernaut – another album that has fans and critics alike raving. On "To Pimp A Butterfly," that’s exactly what Kendrick Lamar does – release another awesome, transcendent LP.

Over its brilliant course, "To Pimp A Butterfly" never ...
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Madonna Didn’t Need To Prove Anything With Rebel Heart

March 16th, 2015 7:00pm EDT
8 Takeaways From Madonna's 'Rebel Heart'
When a legend enters the room, the whole room stops – literally! Madonna is definitely a legend who has established herself among music’s visionaries, no questions asked. Even after long cementing her status as being “it,” Madonna continues to release albums placing her mark upon pop culture. Her latest album Rebel Heart is the latest slice of the pie, and honestly, it’s one of Madonna’s best albums in some time. Forget the unfortunate leak/controversy that surrounded its release; There’s plenty to love and respect about Rebel Heart. Here are eight takeaways from Madge’s latest piece of...
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Kelly Clarkson Looks To The 80s For Inspiration On New Album

March 9th, 2015 2:15pm EDT
Kelly Clarkson - Piece by Piece
“Now I am invincible / No, I ain’t a scared little girl no more.” Indeed on seventh album Piece By Piece, Kelly Clarkson shows why she has had staying power long beyond her days as the first American Idol winner. Piece By Piece is a flashback to the 80s – filled with dance, new wave, and stylistic cues popular ‘back in the day.’ Ultimately, it’s another sound offering from Clarkson, though not necessarily the crème de la crème of her discography.

“Heartbeat Song” initiates Piece By Piece. As expected, it features a big chorus, a perfect match for Clarkson’s pipes. Not overdone, “Heartb...
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Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band Is Dynamic And Truly Special

March 9th, 2015 11:27am EDT
Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Who exactly is Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band? Great question! They are a FIERCE trio mixing the blues along with country music. Both country music and the blues are infused with energy separately, but at the hands of Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, that energy grows exponentially – no exaggeration. Comprised of Rev. Peyton, wife Washboard Breezy Peyton, and Ben Russell, Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band is dynamic and truly special. Their latest album, So Delicious is truly special as well.

“Let’s Jump A Train” opens So Delicious with a ferociousness, driven by its constant rhythm an...
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